Martin Marten by Brian Doyle

Reviewed by Angela 

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Dave is fourteen years old, eager, and headstrong. He is about to start high school, which is scary and alluring. Martin is a pine marten, a small, muscled hunter of the deep woods. He is about to leave home for the first time, which is scary and thrilling. Both of these wild animals are setting off on adventures on their native Mount Hood in Oregon, and their lives, paths, and trails will cross, weave, and blend. Why not come with them as they set forth into the forest and crags of the mountain and into the bruising wilderness of love, life, family, friends, enemies, wonder, mystery, and good things to eat?

This is a story about everyday miracles. Doyle excels at getting into the minds of wild creatures and making human-animal interactions believable. Martin Marten also gifted me with a feeling that everything will be all right, giving a chance for the natural world to soothe and provide a bit of whimsy.  This story is an expansive, free-spirited ride that is nourishing for the soul. Both the setting and the characters of this book are charming, but this praise is redundant with respect to Martin Marten, which explicitly rejects the distinction between setting and character. To Doyle, every being, and even every non-living thing on Wy’east, is a character with a story that is worthwhile and exciting. This humble posture of radically inclusive awe and reverence was deeply moving to me. 

Rating: 4/5 stars